Guyana can access support to fight domestic terrorism -Luncheon
Stabroek News
June 6, 2002

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Guyana will be able to access external support to combat domestic terrorism under the Americas-wide anti-terrorism pact it signed this week in Barbados.

But Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon told reporters yesterday at the Office of the President that that was not the sole source of support it could access. He said government's collaboration with other external agencies as a result of United Nations Security Council resolutions, conventions and international agreements to which Guyana is a party guarantees such assistance and support.

Guyana and 29 other countries signed the hemispheric wide Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism at the just concluded General Assembly of the 35-member Organisation of American States held in Barbados.

Luncheon said that as a signatory to the anti-terrorism pact, Guyana now had the obligation to adopt the necessary measures to prevent, punish and eliminate terrorism within its jurisdiction. It will be laid in parliament for discussion and subsequent ratification.

By acceding to the agreement, he said, Guyana would have to enact legislation to establish as crimes, certain categories of action against identified targets as defined in a series of conventions and international agreements on aviation, navigation, maritime mining, nuclear installations and important personalities. "Importantly the accession would also establish systems for Guyana to be part of the international community working to strengthen anti-terrorist cooperation and measures among the acceding state parties."

Luncheon also stated that every citizen would have the opportunity to help define acts that would be described as domestic terrorism in the legislation that is to be enacted. He said that the legislation would put to rest the debate about what is labelled terrorism and what is not. But he said at present the government relies on the generality of international law and the domestic law of other jurisdictions to label acts as "terroristic."

And on a related issue, the Cabinet Secretary reiterated the government's position that criminal deportees from North America have contributed significantly to the upsurge in criminal activity in the Caribbean and Guyana.

He rejected the position taken by the US State Department that there is no evidence to support the contention that the deportees are responsible for the upsurge in crime, explaining that the US would want countries in the region to welcome the deportees as persons bringing new technology to our societies and as persons who had difficulties becoming climatised to the weather in North America and culture there.

He asserted that the views of the law enforcement agencies in the region could not be discounted as they related the same experience in the evolution of crime at the high level regional task force on crime and security. Luncheon said that some would doubt the validity of the statistics but felt that there was no reason to dispute and reject the findings of the local law enforcement agencies.